When it comes to selling your home, you want every advantage on your side, especially when the market isn't so hot. There's a ridiculous number of homes for sale today and you need to make your own house stand out if you want it to sell it quick and for the right price. With a rapidly growing number of pet owners in the U.S., experts say that one thing you can do to boost the appeal of your home is to make it more pet-friendly.

Why Make a House Pet-friendly Before Selling?

According to the national statistics website iii.org, 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats are owned in the United States. Not only that, but over the past ten years, pet owners have increased their spending on their pets from $41.2 billion to 69.4 billion.

As the number of married people decreases, the number of pet owners increases quickly. Research from the Institute for Family Studies found that while the number of pet-owning households continues to grow, the Millennial generation are having fewer children, too. They are effectively replacing their desire to have children with the desire to have pets.

Marriage statistics in the USA


Pet ownership in the USA statistics

Furthermore, several survey studies among the younger generation buyers found that when it comes to purchasing their first home, dogs factor in to that decision far more than even marriage or kids. 42% of people cited that the reason they want to buy a home today is because they own dog(s) and want to provide a better home for pets.

What does this mean to you as a house seller? If you plan on selling your home in the near future, you’d appeal to a much wider audience by making it more pet-friendly. With so many homes for sale and a lower number of people looking to buy their first house these days, it’s important to find any way you can to make your sale stand out from the competition. So here are some ways to make your house pet-friendly before selling.

15 Ways to Make Your House Pet-Friendly

How and Why to Make Your Home Dog-Friendly Before Selling

There are a number of things that you can do to improve your home and make it more appealing to pet owners buying their first home. Here's the most effective ones.

1. Install a Fence

One of the best things that you can do to sell your home to a pet owner as well as to families with children is to install a fence. Fencing in your back garden creates a safe space where pets and children can play without the worry of them getting out of the yard. A physical fence also keeps other animals out of your yard whereas invisible fences do not. That means no coyotes, no deer, no pests to drive future home owner's dog crazy or scare their kids.

Note: While a fence can be a great selling point to pet owners, there are laws about installing them in your backyard. Before you start the project, make sure that your fence will abide to homeowner’s association regulations and that it is in good condition. Otherwise, it will detract from the value of your home instead of adding to it.

2. Add Child-Proof Latches to Cupboard Doors

Add Child-Proof Latches to Cupboard DoorsPet- and baby-proofing your house can be very cheap but add a lot of value. It’s a small addition and it won’t cost you much out of pocket, yet adding childproof latches to cupboard doors is a great way to appeal to potential buyers of your home who both have pets and children.

One of the more popular childproof latch options today is the magnetic latch like this one from Toplus or this one. For $20-$22 you'll receive 12 locks that can be installed without the use of screws so if they are no longer needed, the latches can easily be removed. Also included are two keys that are used to open the magnetic latches.

3. Check Your Garden Plants

If you want your home to appeal to pet owners, take a stroll around the garden. Be aware of any potentially poisonous plants or foliage that could pose a risk to pets. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for check out this list from the ASPCA.

If you find any potentially dangerous for dogs or cats plants, dig them up and replace those with more pet-friendly options. This will also give you the perfect opportunity to clean up and landscape your garden a little bit. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but a few patches of Monkey Grass can do wonders for appearances.

4. Put Down Stair Treads or a Staircase Runner

Put Down Stair Treads or a Staircase RunnerIf your home has hardwood floors, laminate, or tiling of some kind, pay attention to your stairs. It’s dangerous for just about everyone to walk down stairs that are not covered with some type of gripping material and this is especially true for the dogs.

The cheapest solution to covering those stairs is to buy a pack of pre-made stair treads online. A pack of 13 treads like this one will cost you around $45 and will need to be fixed in place using adhesive tape that is often included with the treads.

The most visually appealing solution to covering stairs is to use a large carpet runner that covers the entire stairway and uses special rods at the back of each stair to keep the carpet in place. Stair runners can be matched to your décor and they are priced by the foot, the rod and bracket system that keeps the carpet on each stair is also priced differently depending on what design you choose. You can also choose transparent ones.

If you only make one upgrade to your home before putting it up for sale on the market, this is the one to choose. It's likely to make considerable difference to pet owners because the home is noticeably safer for their pets.

5. Use Electrical Outlet Covers

Many outlets these days are built with childproof features so electrical outlet covers aren’t always necessary. If you live in an older home, however, covering unused plug sockets is a small but helpful modification that shows home buyers that you are safety conscious.

You can pick up a pack of 36 safety outlet covers like this one for just $3, so it’s a small investment on your part. They are easy to install, and when selling your home, it's good to point those out to demonstrate your awareness of safety and pet-friendliness in the house.

6. Create a Potty Space in the Backyard

Create a Potty Space in the BackyardOne of the bigger challenges faced by dog owners is when their pets use the bathroom on their grass in the back or front yard. Urine burns quickly and easily kills off patches of grass causing them to yellow and die. This can be prevented by hosing off an area after your pooch has gone potty, but to add a selling point to your home, consider adding a designated potty patch.

Create a corner in your yard with wood chips or mulch, a Doggie Dooley, and access to water so that you have a hose handy to hose off the area as needed. You can even decorate with a fire hydrant garden statue – there's plenty of those for cheap online.

7. Opt for Wooden Floors with Rugs Rather than Carpet

When it comes to floors in the rest of your house, if you’re due to replace them or just thinking about it before your move, consider picking the best flooring for dogs, such as hardwoods or locking wood alternatives. Hardwood floors (or even tile or laminate) make it easy to sweep up pet hair, plus any accidents that happen can be easily cleaned.

Keep in mind, however, that these hard surfaces can be slick, so you’ll need to place rugs throughout the home or at least remind home buyers that this is a simple fix to hard-to-grip floors. That said, the benefits of not having carpet far outweigh the drawbacks of having hard surface floors.

8. Add a Doggy Door

Not every dog uses a doggy door, but if you’re looking to truly make your home pet-friendly, consider adding one to your home. A doggy door lets a pet slip out to use the bathroom when needed or just so that they can take a walk around the yard. It's one of the best additions and selling points for the house, but will require a little more effort and money (especially if installing a door into a wall).

Doggy doors lessen the chance of accidents in the house and these days they come with technology that makes them safer than ever. There's a number of them you can find in different price ranges, but this one microchip activated pet door from SureFlap is one of the favorites among pet owners.

9. Swap Out that Tub for a Walk-In Shower

Swap Out that Tub for a Walk-In ShowerIf you’ve ever owned a big dog then you know that lifting a resistant canine into a deep bathtub is painful and quite difficult. If you’re really looking to sell your home, consider getting rid of that deep guest bathroom tub and replacing it with a walk-in shower.

Walk-in showers make it much easier (and cleaner) to get a pooch bathed and if you add a shower seat or ledge, you’re going to add a little extra appeal. On the more expensive side, you can have a designated area for a doggy bath, which will definitely make a huge selling point, but will require more investment on your part.

10. Expand Your Mudroom

Have a larger home with a mudroom? Consider turning it into a dog room where dogs can be bathed in a walk-in shower so that mud doesn’t get tracked all through the house. The mudroom is perfect for a bathing station with a doggy bath simply because it’s usually the first room you pass through on the way back into the house.

Like I said about dog baths, same applies here – expanding a mudroom can be a somewhat pricey investment, so it’s generally not advisable unless you are having a really hard time selling your home, or your house is already big and on the pricier side.

11. If You Have Carpet, Make it Stain-Resistant

If you do have rooms where carpet is a necessity – perhaps the bedroom – invest in pet-friendly, stain-resistant carpet. These types of carpets hold up well over time, are relatively affordable, and can add a touch of color to an otherwise neutral room.

12. Install a Window Seat

Install a Window SeatA window seat is more of an “extra something” that will set your home apart from the rest. Most pets, both cats and dogs, love to sit and look out of the window when waiting for their owner, or simply to pass the time. Building or installing a window seat for the pet will provide a cozy place for them to do this.

If you can’t build one yourself, you can pick up a pre-built window seat for $100 or less and it’s worth it to make your home one to remember. It's not a necessary addition, and I'd rank it as one of the last to consider for making your home pet-friendly before selling it.

13. Create a Hidden Trash Space

If your kitchen doesn’t yet have a trashcan that secrets inside one of the cupboards, pick up a do it yourself kit and make one. Hidden trash cans don’t just make homes look cleaner – they also protect trash from nosy pets who love to get into the garbage bins and snuffle around creating a mess.

You can pick up a roll-out bin holder like this one to install in your kitchen cabinet for just $41 and as an added bonus, when people come to view your home, they won’t be staring at your trashcans.

14. Put Up a Fence Around Your Pool Area

If your home has a pool, it’s crucial that you install a safety fence around that area. Pool fences are available in different sizes for different prices, but for around $150 you can get a sturdy fence to keep your family secure (here's an example). It also makes a great selling point for your home when your potential buyers have young children and pets that may not be able to swim well.

15. Install Door and Window Chimes

Door and window chimes are usually built into alarm systems, but if you don’t have an alarm system in place, look into stand-alone door and window security chimes. Applied to windows and doors throughout the home, these chimes sound whenever someone opens a door or window. This is ideal for parents of all species because it provides an aural warning that somewhere in the home is unsecured and that kids or pets can get outside and subsequently into trouble.

In Summary: A Step Above the Competition

For Sale - 15 Ways to Make Your House Pet-Friendly Before SellingSure, pet-proofing your home before selling it is just one thing that you can do to make your option stand out from others on the market, but it’s something that your competitors also selling their houses at the same time won’t automatically think about.

Your competitors are likely to consider landscaping, even redoing their flooring, but chances are that they won’t prepare their home for future four-legged family members. However, statistics show that a pet-friendly home will significantly work in your favor, so get to it!

READ NEXT: 33 DIY Ideas for a Frugal Pet Owner [Infographic]

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Latasha Doyle is a writer, wife, and a fur mom living outside of Denver, CO. She has always been an animal lover and adopted her dogs, Clyde and Webster, in 2008. Latasha and her husband also have four cats for a complete and friendly family.